Saturday, May 2, 1970

Asimov's Science Fiction

When Asimov's Science Fiction was first published in 1977 under the name Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine with George H. Scithers at the helm, the name chosen was an attempt to leverage Isaac Asimov's immense personal popularity and stature as a sort of "elder statesman" in the science fiction genre to help make a new publication successful. Given that Asimov's has been in print for more than thirty years now, this seems to have been a pretty good plan. Contrary to popular perception, Asimov himself never served as the magazine's editor, but rather only contributed editorials and responded to fan mail, two efforts he continued until his death in 1992. The current editor is Sheila Williams, who has held the post since 2004.

The magazine currently shares common ownership with venerable industry giant Analog Science Fiction and Fact, and in format and appearance the two magazines are very similar. Asimov's tends to be more "literary" of the two magazines, regularly featuring science fiction oriented poetry and tending towards more "soft" science fiction stories, sometimes ranging into pure fantasy. Unlike Analog, Asimov's does not contain any regular science fact features. Of the two, I must admit that I used to prefer Analog, but only by a tiny bit, but in recent years this has reversed. I am glad that Analog is around to provide a venue to showcase the "harder" style of science fiction that can be found in its pages, but its editorial direction simply has not been as strong as that of Asimov's in the past several years, and Asimov's has emerged as the top magazine in the field.

1977-1981 George H. Scithers
1982          Kathleen Moloney
1983-1985 Shawna McCarthy
1986-2004 Gardner Dozois
2004-         Sheila Williams



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